A fun holiday film that captures an era well.
I first saw this film as a tv rerun as a kid, and enjoyed the post war ambiance, the costumes and the dance. it has since become one of the 20 or so films i watch every year at christmas time as a matter of personal tradition. the film is typical for the time, 1950s, with wonderful costumes, especially for women. the music is irving berlin classic and enhances the winter concept and the christmas holiday especially. the colors are intense and designers and filmographers have obviously gone to considerable effort to create eye pleasing contrasts. danny kaye and bing crosby were wonderfully paired. the combo of hope and crosby established crosby as the straight man in a comedy duo, , and danny kaye had a brilliant career as a funny man, , . their pairing seems almost inevitable. while i could see kaye guilting out crosby over a broken arm suffered while "saving his life," i couldn't really see hope in that role. their two styles of comedy were different. kaye's slightly sly comedy was perfect for the part. though i know crosby was often the "handsome" man in many of his films, i've never really thought of him as such; but his staring opposite the very gifted singer rosemary clooney (george's aunt, i believe) seemed to be perfect. certainly their duets worked well, and his often bewildered or knowing expressions were a perfect foil for clooney's irritation. for dances, kaye and vera ellen were perfect choices. they looked like they'd been dancing together for years, and there was no sense that either was trying to dominate the scene. though the routines are probably pretty meek and tame by "dancing with the stars" comparison, they are still classics for the 1950s. i particularly enjoyed the choreography that featured vera ellen as its focus. her athletic talents and tiny figure were very well presented. the story itself is charming and so era appropriate. the notion of a family gathering in front of the tv set to watch a variety show together is so 1950s and also much a part of my own childhood. the war was still recent enough for people to remember it vividly and yet distant enough for them to have lost contact with those with whom they had served and from whom they thought they could never part. the series m. a. s.h., , captures some of the types of expriences that created these types of intense relationships. there was a sepia tinted nostalgia among those who had served, that i recognized even from my father's own stories of his war time experiences. the movie manages to capture that era's sense that life would never be as intense or as purposeful and important as it had been during the war. it wraps it up in pretty ribbon and surrounds it in snow, making it a perfect holiday film.